According to Mayor Lee Posey, his office has received a high volume of calls from Sibley Lake residents who are concerned about the possibility of flooding from future rain events, such as the one Natchitoches is currently facing with Hurricane Harvey. One question is what can be done to lower the water level on Sibley Lake.
After the flooding in March, 2016, Posey met with entities throughout the Parish and state that deal with disaster preparedness to see if something could be done.
The only way to draw down Sibley Lake is through the use of a glory hole that flows into Young Bayou. Built in the 60s, the 4×4 foot gate located at the bottom of the glory hole hasn’t been used on a regular basis. If the gate was opened and for some unforeseen reason, couldn’t be closed, the results could be disastrous. Could it be fixed in time to save the City’s water supply? Is testing it worth the amount of money it would cost to fix it? Is is worth testing it with such high stakes?
Besides skepticism of the gate mechanics still being operational after all these years, there’s an even bigger problem. Opening the gate wouldn’t solve anything. After crunching numbers, it was estimated that the gate will drain approximately 1 foot of water every four days. While Sibley Lake residents may see this as good news, there’s other citizens to take into account. The water that drains into Young Bayou empties into Old River. This would mean putting more water on people further down from the Sibley Lake area.
“It’s gonna hurt someone either way you go,” said Posey. “I’m not in a position to make that call.”
Residents interested in keeping up with water level, rain and other data for Sibley Lake can now go online to www.123MC.com. The City started recording data mid-July with an electronic rain gauge and automatic alarms. If the water level drops or rises too far from pool stage (116 feet above mean sea level) alarms will inform the City of drought or flood situations.
To log in, use the USERNAME: Natchitoches and the PASSWORD: Sibley Lake (include a space between the words).